GLASS fans will this weekend get their first peek at a sparkling new museum in Wordsley which is opening its doors for a series of pop-up exhibitions ahead of its official launch.

Talk of creating a new state-of-the-art museum seemed a mere pipe dream when plans to close Kingswinford's world famous Broadfield House Glass Museum first emerged in 2009 but - after a long journey - the British Glass Foundation is now set to unveil the 'White House Cone - Museum of Glass'.

Allister Malcolm, who will be the resident glassmaker at the new museum, and photographer Simon Bruntnell, of Bruntnell-Astley, will be welcoming glass enthusiasts this Saturday (June 11) to take their first look at the new £5.5million attraction - built to replace Broadfield House which closed last September.

The pair will also launch the facility's first-ever exhibition The Heat is On! and host the official 'lighting of the furnace' celebrations at the site - where a glass-making furnace has not been lit since Stuart & Sons glassworks closed in 2001...although it has already been pre-lit this week to ensure it's in working order for Saturday!

Allister, who has painstakingly moved his old Broadfield House studio to the new museum in Camp Hill - opposite the Red House Glass Cone, said: "It's very much work in progress but it will give an opportunity for the public to see what's going on."

He said it had been a "long, long path" for campaigners involved in the project to get to this point but he added: "The end result is one which will wow people.

"The quality of light and space inside is outstanding and lends itself to showing off glass at its best.

"I know it's going to be quite amazing to be part of it."

British Glass Foundation spokesman Graham Fisher said he's "immensely proud" to be involved in the project and he said: "It's going to be world class. Stourbridge is on the cusp of becoming a major player in the world of glass again. I would be very surprised if members of the public aren't blown away by what they see - especially when they realise the timescales in which we've done it and given what was there before."

The British Glass Foundation has worked tirelessly with Complex Development Projects Ltd to bring the vision of a new museum to reality.

The development - which includes sympathetic restoration of the historic former glassworks and preservation of the remains of the old White House Glass Cone (an ancient monument), a courtyard area and office space for business start-ups - has been funded thanks to a £2.13million grant from the European Regional Development Fund.

In addition to showcasing the borough's glass collection in a more accessible and visitor-friendly fashion than at Broadfield, it is hoped the glass-fronted new venture will become a local landmark and a world class visitor attraction.

The borough's glass treasures, which had been displayed at Broadfield House since 1980, will be installed into the new museum at a later date when the group secures all of the internal fixtures and fittings with cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund - and the facility is expected to be fully operational in 2017.

The canalside development also includes 18 one and two-bedroom loft apartments which will also be unveiled this Saturday.

Members of the public can visit the new museum between midday and 4pm this Saturday - and they can also take a tour of the new homes.

The Heat is On! exhibition will run until July 10 and further pop-up displays will be scheduled to run until the museum is fully up and running.

Visitors will also be able to see Allister Malcolm blowing glass between 12pm and 4pm Tuesdays through to Sundays and to leave comments on how they would like to see the facility developed.